I spent much of the first part of this week attending the 52nd Colloquium on African Languages and Linguistics online. Such a  breadth of topics — pursued in depth!  My talk, which I somewhat ambitiously titled “What modal
distinctions are salient in Nguni languages?”, attempted to summarize some of the major findings of our comparative study on modal expressions in South African Bantu languages thus far, and specifically dealt with the question of participant-internal vs. participant-external possibility categories (and the salience of the distinction), and with the less-commonly discussed, and, it turns out, somewhat confusingly named category of “existential” possibility.  The interaction with the audience was stimulating and my collaborators and I came away with new insights and directions for our ongoing studies. I am not a huge fan of attending conferences remotely as a rule (even as I prefer to avoid air travel whenever possible!), but I am nevertheless grateful to intrepid organizers of hybrid conferences everywhere for opening up their events to a much wider range of participants.

On Wednesday, I also gave an informal talk at our department coffee hour  with my thoughts on the meaning of “productivity”, and on organizing sane and humane individual and group workflows. I very briefly introduced Trello and showed some of the boards I’ve been using for my own work and (with sensitive information omitted!) those we’ve been using to organize our work at the journal.  Over the past several years, I’ve become extremely interested in the intersections of technology, attention, decision-making, and senses of time, and it was exciting to discuss some of my semi-developed ideas with colleagues.